Streetlight maintenance now an essential service

Streetlight maintenance now an essential service

A DH file photo of vehicles belonging to power contractors parked in front of the BBMP office during their protest on Wednesday.

Taking a lesson from the electrical contractors' snap protest two days ago, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to bring streetlights' maintenance under the Essential Services category so that the IT city does not plunge into a pool of darkness in the future. 

The BBMP council which met on Friday gave its approval for the decision.

Surprisingly, both the ruling and opposition party corporators blamed the BBMP officials over the delay in payment and sought reasons for the same. Prompted by corporators argument, Mayor R Sampath Raj also questioned the officials. 

Opposition party Leader Padmanabha Reddy and other leaders said: “It looks like contractors would get their dues only if they go on a strike under the current administration. This is sheer negligence by the officials." 

The BBMP Commissioner M Maheshwar Rao said:"That streetlight bills come under the priority category and bills under this category are paid on 'seniority' (time-based), as per the directions of the Karnataka High Court. The council can take a decision to move street light bills from the priority category to the essential category where there will be seamless payment.”

Replying to it, Jayamahal corporator, M K Gunashekhar said: "Since the BBMP commissioner has the executive power, he should have approved and moved street light bills from the priority category to the essential category on his own without waiting for the council approval.”

Opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy alleged that the BBMP has issued a work order to a contractor to collect and transport solid waste from 30 wards in East zone without floating a tender.